A couple in America have adopted a giant rodent and even allow it to sleep in their bed.
Melanie Typaldos, 57, shares her home in Texas with her pet Gary – the world’s largest rodent.
The computer programmer and her husband, Richard Loveman, 54, even let the giant guinea pig – known as a capybara – sleep in their bed.
The couple fell in love with the South American mammals during a holiday to Venezuela, and adopted Gary from an owner who could no longer care for him.
The capybara has become part of the family and enjoys nothing more than swimming with his owners in the swimming pool, which was built to remind the pet of his natural habitat.
Melanie says: “Although some people might find it strange, it’s really no different than having a dog or a cat.
“Gary is really very smart and he’s very affectionate.”
The cuddly eight-stone animal entertains the family with tricks.
Melanie says: “He learns tricks very quickly – faster than your typical dog would.
“He knows how to shake, how to turn in a circle, how to stand up on his hind legs and how to jump up on things on command.”
Gary lives happily among the family’s menagerie of animals, including a horse, rabbits, tortoises, dogs and a cat.
Melanie admits: “He does sometimes get angry with the tortoises because he thinks they invade his space and there is nothing he can do about it.”
Melanie even takes Gary, who lives on a diet of grass, out to local schools to educate them about the natural world.
She says: “Most people don’t know what a capybara is but as soon as they see him, they want to come pet him and feed him treats.
“He loves the attention.”